April 02, 2007

Drug-induced Psychosis up 400% in Australia

A new study out of Australia's National Drug and Alcohol Research Center has found that during the past decade there has been a 400% increase in the number of people treated for drug-induced psychosis (psychosis is a medical term for loss of touch with reality; a key symptom of schizophrenia). In 1994, there were 55.5 cases per million people, rising to 253 per million by 2004 says the report, published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The report suggests that the largest increase has been among amphetamine users. A Royal Perth Hospital study also published in the journal found more than one in every 100 emergency department patients was being treated for a problem related to amphetamine use, which included ice, ecstasy and speed.

This had a "major impact" on the functioning of the department. "Patients with acute amphetamine intoxication are often agitated and aggressive, require extensive resources such as sedation and frequently re-attend," the report says.

"With increasing availability and use of amphetamines, the burden on emergency services will continue to grow."

"The police are maxed out on trying to reduce the supply and almost no effort is going into trying to reduce the demands," he said. "The reason why these drugs are illegal is because they're dangerous to your health"

Addaction (http://www.addaction.org.uk/), the UK's largest drug and alcohol treatment charity, has an informative parents' guide that gives advice on how to broach the subject of drug use with teenagers. It emphasizes the need to consider your own behavior during any discussions you have as your anxiety or anger could hinder effective communication.

Source: Hospital separations for cannabis- and methamphetamine-related psychotic episodes in Australia

More Information:

Australia National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre


I can assure all that I have lifelong job security thanks to crystal meth. I spent 15 months in what is called a "Psych Hold Area" of an ER in Las Vegas. Not a day went by that I didn't care for one or more patients with meth-induced psychosis. I now work on a chemical dependency unit. When nurses like myself retire in the next ten years, we will be in a catastrophic state, with the dearth of mental health facilities here in Las Vegas. All of the ER's in Vegas have psychiatric holding areas because there are not enough inpatient psychiatric-hospital beds to handle all the incoming acutely psychotic meth abusers. Whatever will we do?

Posted by: Joan RN at September 17, 2007 11:34 AM

i am a mother of a 23yr old son with drug induced psychosis, caused from meth amphet. use (and others probably) who is now in a state psychiatric unit in Perth Western Australia. He has been repeated returned to the streets, until now. After being charged with assault whilst in a public hospital trying to get help. I am feeling guilty because I am GLAD he is there and hopefully won't hurt himself or others. Do I just trust in the state to care and treat him? Any answers?

Posted by: wendy at January 5, 2008 09:48 PM

my son was admitted yesterday with drug induced psychosis,he is 19 yrs old today but not much of a birthday. I have grave fears for the future and really don't know how I will cope. I'm sorry I can't answer your question but like you I am so happy that he is being kept inside for the timebeing as this is all too hard, emma

Posted by: emma at January 25, 2008 10:50 PM

I, too, have a son who suffers from drug induced psychosis. He has been drug
free for almost 2 years now as he lives
with me but he still hears voices and is
in his own world. He refuses to seek medical attention and accept medication.

I am a widow and am totally exhausted
by having him in my every day life. We
both now seem just to exist rather than
live life to the fullest.

Does anyone have any advice. He is
33 years old so I have been helpless
in getting him help as he is considered
an adult.

Can anyone help me.

Posted by: Angie at March 3, 2008 08:24 PM

You should seriously consider scientology, it may have all the answers your looking for, saving that you should look into some of the hearing voices networks, they offer some help.

Posted by: tom at March 19, 2008 05:23 PM

This is wendy with an update on my son. He is still in hospital but is nearing release. has been drug,alcohol free for nearly 4 months now.
I fear for him falling back as there is no government help in accommodation, counselling and helping getting back into work. Along with the support necessary to stay drug free. All I can wish for is that he has the determination to stay drug free.

Posted by: wendy june whitchurch at March 24, 2008 11:11 PM

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